Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd (SFIL) has completed its biggest ever pour with 607 tonnes of continuous molten steel transferred into a vast subterranean mould.
The record breaking feat in the company’s foundry beats the biggest ever previous pour by seven tonnes and will create an ultra-large casting component which will weigh around 320 tonnes once finished, taking six weeks to cool sufficiently to be excavated.
The pouring is the fifth in a series of eleven castings destined to become some of the largest cast components ever made by the South Yorkshire manufacturing giant for a landmark US$19m contract for established customer German company, SMS Meer.
Noting that this casting is set to be a record for some time now, foundry manager at Sheffield Forgemasters, John Sanderson, foundry manager at Sheffield Forgemasters, commented: “Pouring 607 tonnes of liquid steel required five ladles to be poured simultaneously, with a sixth ladle used as a top-up.
“The process, which has many complex elements, was made even more challenging because the casting is one in a series of eleven, which meant that our deep casting pits were already in use; so we had to raise the sides of a shallower pit to 12 feet above ground level to accommodate.
“The steel is poured at more than 1,500°C and the casting will take six weeks to cool to about 1,000°, when it will have solidified far enough to be dug from the sand mould.
He continued: “Over the next five days, it will further cool to 300°at which point we will remove the feeder heads and transfer it to a furnace for a two-week heat treatment cycle.
“The whole process from receiving drawings of the component, through pattern and mould making, casting, heat treatment, fettling and finish machining on a component of this scale is approximately 18 months.”
SFIL will deliver six more similar castings over the next 18 months as part of the contract which will see more than 6,000 tonnes of molten steel produced in total.
With the largest foundry facilities in Europe, Sheffield Forgemasters is one of the only companies in the world able to manufacture ultra-large castings of more than 150 tonnes in weight. It has a long history of breaking consecutive world records for the largest castings ever manufactured.
The firm has previously worked with SMS Meer, a world leader in the production of metals processing and manufacturing machinery to produce a broad range of technically challenging, ultra-large castings including the world’s largest single casting for a closed-die forging press – weighing in at 325 tonnes.